By Sharon Mitchell
Until 21st Century Breakdown was released, this was always my favourite album. Some days, it still is. I find it amazing that so many different musical styles are encompassed in 18 tracks. King For A Day is pure ska, Walking Alone sounds like the early Beatles, the beautiful ‘surf sound’ Last Ride in could have been written in the 1960s, Take Back sounds like Slipknot and then there are the gorgeous love and anti-love songs – including Good Riddance.
That’s a lot of variation, and I am not surprised that many of my friends regard this as their top Green Day album, too. Billie’s own words on the subject -
“This is a record we’ve been thinking about for the past six years. We knew we wanted to change, but we didn’t want to change too much too soon. The record’s about vulnerability in a lot of ways—throwing yourself out there…Why the fuck not put out that fucking stupid acoustic song or that stupid surf song? This is who we are. Why hide it?”
It was released in October 1997, almost exactly two years after Insomniac, and four or five singles were released, depending on what region you live in.
I have Nice Guys Finish Last, Hitchin’ A Ride, Redundant, Good Riddance and Prosthetic Head, two of those as promo versions only.
Mike said that including the track on Nimrod was “probably the most punk rock thing we could have done”, because with its string arrangement and its distinct lack of the signature Green Day bass and drum parts, it was a mile away from everything they had ever produced before.
It is worth reminding you that it was written around 1990, although Billie did not share it with his bandmates until after Dookie, just before the Insomniac era.
I always think of this track as being the first signs of Billie experimenting and branching out into the songwriter he is today – far too versatile to be put into one category of music. I find it funny that so many people think of it as a love song because of its slow tempo, when in fact it is the opposite. The clue is in the name, although the track is more often referred to by its sub-title.
The album was released on vinyl – plain black for the first German pressing – although it seems to have been available for only a very short time. Certainly, the 1997 vinyl is extremely hard to find, especially since the 2009 reissue, from which it is very hard to distinguish.
The newer version, like all of the reissued series, is on heavier grade vinyl, but unless you have the two together to compare, that doesn’t make it any easier to find out if yours is one of the originals.
In 2012, Hot Topic continued their series of exclusive coloured reissues with a yellow edition. I have it on cassette tape, twice, one a regular version, the other specially packaged for the Thai market, and still factory sealed. I also have the regular, Japanese (with bonus track Desensitised), the Australian (with orange “NIMROD” logo and four bonus tracks) and one autographed cd, and a promo ‘acetate’ disc.
The album was critically acclaimed, especially for the mature lyrical content, and to me, this is the first time that Green Day show their true colours – as many and varied as a rainbow!